Cultivate Coffee Roastery

Cultivate's freshly roasted coffee makes their Italian affogato — a shot of espresso poured over vanilla ice cream — truly next level.

Ben Somerville knows coffee.

Talk to him for just five minutes, and you’ll quickly discover that this guy really geeks out over all things java.

Residents of Fuquay-Varina were heartened last summer when Ben and his wife, Alexandra Somerville, opened Cultivate Coffee Roastery, a café-style hangout located downtown.

“Ever since we met and got married, we’ve both had a keen interest in starting a small business,” says Ben, a former associate pastor turned entrepreneur. “We really wanted to do something that would benefit the community.”

Ben explains it was “happenstance” that he started roasting coffee at home. Word of mouth spread, and soon he began shipping bags of joe to people’s doorsteps. Ultimately, he and Alexandra, who goes by Alex, decided to open a coffee shop.

“We feel like we snuck in at just the right time, because now is definitely the time to start a business in Fuquay,” Ben says. “There is rich history here, but new things are also happening. A lot of young singles and couples are moving here, especially to the downtown area, and they love being able to walk from their homes to get coffee.”

Alex and Ben Somerville

For their coffee roastery, the Somervilles chose a building that previously served as an auto detail shop and, before that, an ambulance hub. They were particularly intrigued by the building’s low-maintenance concrete flooring and large garage bay door that can be raised to provide an open and airy vibe.

“All the benches inside are custom-built, and the kids’ table, which is really popular, was a random find on Craigslist,” says Alex.

The couple also called on locally owned Dawson’s Electric to install stylish Edison lights and abundant electrical outlets so guests can conveniently charge their electronic devices.

As for the coffee roasting, the magic happens in an isolated area near the back of the building. Coffee is sourced from a trusted specialty importer. Major growing regions are well represented, including Honduras, Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Sumatra and Guatemala.

“You just can’t beat coffee that’s served at its prime, which is usually two or three days after it’s roasted,” says Ben. “If you go to Whole Foods and buy good coffee, it may not be as fresh as what we have. Freshness makes a huge difference in how it tastes.”

Cultivate’s coffee menu covers all the bases: cappuccino, Americano, café au lait, espresso, pour-over, French press and flavored lattes. For a distinctively different experience, try the smooth, nitrogen-infused cold brew.

Prefer hot tea instead? Herbal selections range from berry black and Earl grey to oolong and ginger mint. Fermented Kombucha tea is also an intriguing option.

House-made syrups include honey cinnamon, almond, vanilla bean, mocha, honey lavender and seasonal flavors like peppermint.

Be sure to check out the tantalizing assortment of pastries and other sweet treats all made with love by Bestow Baked Goods.

Located on South Fuquay Avenue, across from the NC DMV driver’s license office

Artisan ice cream is churned onsite and includes flavors such as Meyer lemon cookie, blueberry and hazelnut chocolate plus vegan options vanilla and pistachio. Takeaway pints and quarts are available.

Order the Italian affogato, which involves a scoop of vanilla ice cream drowned with a shot of hot espresso. You won’t regret it.

Ben says Cultivate will continue adding new things to mix, including beer and wine, evening events like photography workshops or live music and, eventually, lunch service.

Loose leaf herbal teas are also available.

“When you have a building like this, you want the lights on and doors unlocked as much as possible,” Ben says. “There are a lot of innovative things we can do moving forward.”

At the end of the day, the Somervilles desire to make Cultivate a warm, welcoming destination where people can come in, hang out and interact with others.

“We have one guy who comes in every Sunday with his teenage daughter, which is awesome,” Ben says. “This is a place where people can develop and strengthen relationships. What better way to connect with people than bringing them together under our roof?”

Alex adds: “We love people, and people love coffee, so that brings them here.”

Open seven days a week, Cultivate offers free WiFi internet and encourages lingering.

Cultivate Coffee Roastery

128 South Fuquay Avenue, Fuquay-Varina
(919) 285-4067

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